crochet

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IKEA hack: Hand stamped brown paper packages


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Last year I gave you DIY Christmas gift wrap ideas using a little botanical cheer. Those plain, brown paper packages are my favorite backdrop for dressing up prezzies any time of year. It’s crazy-versatile!

So what more can you do with that bargain kraft paper from IKEA? Indulge your trendy collection of hand carved stamps! If you don’t have any stamps, even better. Now you have a great occasion to try out a new craft. It’s a little tricky, but with the right tools from any good art store, you can have tons of fun. I made this little ball of yarn stamp on my second try!

hand stamped wrapping paper idea
diy hand stamped wrapping paper My sister’s birthday called for some crafty, hand stamped wrapping with a knitting theme.

My sister’s birthday presents certainly called for this yarn theme. Check out her new knitting swag: a handy, retro wool winder and an electronic stitch counter. She loved them, of course!

Cute retro yarn winder
Give your yarn stash a makeover with a wool winder.
Digital stitch counter ring
A digital stitch counter ring is my new must-have for knitting and crochet!
New Patterns

New Free Crochet Pattern: Perfect Acorns


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Teresa at Outdoor Alphabet: Help! We need a gigantic acorn and some little ones to match our new logo.

Lorna at Knits for Life: I’ll design it on the double!

Dozens of hours and a lot of OCD later, this not-so-little acorn is prompting predictions of 8-foot squirrels on Twitter.

Giant Custom Crochet Acorn
At first stuff: 18 inch acorn ready to be sewn up and shoved into shape.

The little ones sent me on a hunt for the perfect acorn shape.

Crochet acorn ornaments
My hunt for the perfect acorn

Six acorns later, the fruits of these labors deserve to be shared as a free crochet pattern. I’ve also been wanting to design a cut-out pattern that’s easy to read. Opportunity knocks!

Free crochet pattern amigurumi acorn
Cut-out and pull-through pattern.
acorn ornament free crochet pattern
Did I mention it’s a free pattern?

Do you lose your place as much as I do when you knit or crochet? It’s the pits! This cute idea shows one line of instructions at a time, with the finished item and the abbreviations right there. No more picking up and dropping my pencil, no more flipping through pdf pages on my e-reader. It’s wonderful! I hope you’ll find it useful. I’d love to hear what you think in the comments.

Crochet Acorn Ornaments

Free Crochet acorn pattern

Crochet Acorn Toys

Free crochet acorn pattern

xxxo,

Lorna

New Patterns

Crochet Day of the Dead Bunting


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Day of the Dead is a colorful holiday in Mexico on the day after Halloween. Families celebrate the dead with bright yellow marigolds, wildly ornamented sugar skulls, and banners of finely perforated paper (papel picado). In the spirit of “death is the thing we all have in common,” jaunty skeletons in sombreros, traditional dresses, and pedaling away on bicycles fill every corner of these decorations.

I wanted to fill my home with the bright colors and passion of Mexico on a skull banner that would last. So, I designed four fun skull images in an easy, charming project any beginner can do. There are no charts, just simple repeated motifs–clearly explained. If you like charts, you’re bound to quickly get the hang of the motifs and can use the high-quality images as a chart. I recommend using cotton crochet thread, but the designs come out great even with sport or DK weight yarn.

This set includes all four designs–what a deal!

Download it now wherever you shop: Craftsy, Ravelry, or Etsy.

Filet Crochet Pattern for Day of the Dead Bunting

Filet Crochet Pattern for Day of the Dead Bunting

Filet Crochet Pattern for Day of the Dead Bunting

Filet Crochet Pattern for Day of the Dead Bunting

day of the dead crochet bunting

News

Crochet Rap: Straight Hookin’


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Having dabbled in short films with my sister, I’m a sucker for a good parody video. I also love modernizing crochet, so what’s better than a high-quality rap video about the travails of having a crochet business?

Crochet Rap Video: Straight Hookin'
Crackin’ up.

Written by DJ Pün and performed by Laneya “L.A.W.” Wiles.

Thanks, SF Etsy street team, for supporting its members by tweeting gems like this at us.

xxxo,

Lorna at Knits for Life

New Products

What’s hot: chair socks


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What’s selling: custom table socks

Do you peek at Etsy shops’ sales more often than their stock? Guilty! Who wants to see the leftovers? Not me!

My custom table socks in recycled yarn are hot! This time, before they flew out the door and in the mail, I snapped some photos. Why has the furniture sock trend popped up on Etsy and Pinterest? Scroll past the pics, where I tell you.

Custom Table Socks Recycled Yarn by Knits for Life
4-Pack of custom eco table socks by Knits for Life, $25.
    4-Pack of Custom Table Socks, in 100% New Recycled Yarn, by Knits for Life, $25.
Crocheted with European 100% new recycled yarn, by Berroco Yarns.
    4-Pack of Custom Table Socks, in 100% New Recycled Yarn, by Knits for Life, $25.
Ready to go with a coupon-loaded Moo card in a recycled, hand-stamped envelope.
Eco Friendly Crochet Decor by Knits for Life square
Retro tube sock table socks rock my world, and my fiber art studio.
Eco Friendly Home Decor by Knits for Life
Eco yarns are widely available now. Use them!

Why are they popular?

  • Closed-bottom socks protect bare floors. DD ordered a long, skinny pair for when she slides her new Table-Mate tray and laptop over to the couch. Now she wants socks in every color!
  • Yarn bombing isn’t just an outdoor phenomenon. Outdoor yarn bombs get shabby, but indoor bombs on clocks, chairs, and vases stay awesome. Plus you get to enjoy them all the time. My yarn bombed chairs feature in the upcoming issue of Graffiti Beach magazine.
  • Retro + surprising + eco = hot! From crochet to tube socks, what’s old is hot again. But please, let’s forgo granny squares and macrame. Reinvent played out trends, add some ethics, and you win.

Pin what’s selling

Remember, Pinterest rivals Facebook and Twitter in sites that get you traffic.

So, keep an eye to what’s selling when you pin. What’s selling = what people search for on Pinterest = your pins come up in searches. Embroidered Vans that epitomize needlepoint? Pin it! Personalized hand made needle felted necklaces for $19? Pin it! Custom table socks in recycled yarn? Pin it!

Don’t forget the description box. Search can give you a hand, but only if you hold out yours. Fill the description box with the terms that are selling.

Pin what’s selling, get followers, increase visibility of all your other pins. Got it? Good!

Now pin your favorite table sock image above and tell me what you’ve been selling lately in a comment. You can also follow my Pinterest board of furniture socks.

xxxo

Lorna at Knits for Life

New Products

One Scoop of Mint Chip, Please!


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Here’s a tip for you: don’t mix variegated yarns and textured patterns. Like Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown, neither shines when the other’s around.

Crochet stitches are even more textured than knit stitches, which means you should save your variegated colors for knitting projects with simple textures (i.e., stockinette). Textured crochet projects in particular don’t do well with textured yarns, because the clash is even more exaggerated. Got it? Ok, I want to see beautiful Ravelry project pages from now on!

Now, enough of the technical talk! In the course of learning this lesson, there’s one gorj yarn in particular I hooked up and unraveled several times, always choosing it for the wrong project. (Yes, I’m a perfectionist!). Vanquished, I used it in a simple (stockinette!) hat & glove set and it began to belt out riffs of I Wanna Dance With Somebody

Mint Chip Pom Pom Hat Natural Wool and Alpaca by Knits for Life
Mint Chip Pom Pom Hat in Natural Wool and Alpaca by Knits for Life.

(Somebody! Ooo! Somebody! Ooo! Somebody who loves me!)

Mint Chip Pom Pom Hat and Fingerless Gloves Set in Natural Wool and Alpaca by Knits for Life
Mint Chip Pom Pom Hat and Fingerless Gloves Set, in Natural Wool and Alpaca, by Knits for Life.

(Somebody! Ooo! Somebody! Ooo! To hold me in his arms, Oh!)

Mint Chip Fingerless Gloves in Natural Wool and Alpaca by Knits for Life
Mint Chip Fingerless Gloves, in Natural Wool and Alpaca, by Knits for Life.
(Dontcha wanna dance! Say you wanna dance! Dontcha wanna dance!)
Mint Chip Pom Pom Hat and Fingerless Gloves set instagram by Knits for Life
Follow @KnitsForLife on Instagram to see photos of my process and inspiration. Soon I’ll upgrade my 3GS, I promise!
Now the color positively rustles powdered snow from a flocked blue spruce. Maybe that’s why it’s called Snowbird. I also kind of want to lick it, so I put a big scoop of mint chip on the hat and now, indeed, I think the project is a perfect match.
 
xxxo,
Lorna
New Products

Let’s Wear Cuter Headbands This Winter


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Fall and winter present a problem for the ladies: we love a warm head and ears, but we don’t want to mess up these well-groomed locks. American college campuses are the natural habitat for one solution: knitted headbands. Sorority sisters and Rastafarians alike (yes, I had dread locks for a decade!) can get behind the warm, chunky headband.

But ladies, must we wear a huge crocheted flower on our noggins?

Winter earwarmer/headband with flower
Cute, but so two-thousand-and-late: Winter Earwarmer Flower Headband by Penny Mae Designs, $20.

Do we really need to look like everyone else?

Cable Knit Headband Ear Warmer
The Bronies are coming for the most famous headband on Pinterest: Cable Knit Headband Ear Warmer by Three Bird Nest, $28

I mean, you’ve been to Europe. You want something rad like this

Knitted turban hat winter accessories on asos.com
Knitted Turban on asos.com.

but not quite this.

Knit headband fox pom pom on Revolve Clothing
Bella Knit Headband with Fox Earmuffs in Taupe/Grey by Eugenia Kim, $187.

More like this

Gold knit headband by Rag & Bone
Farah Headband by rag & bone, $150.

and this.

Heather Headband by Club Monaco, $60.
Heather Headband by Club Monaco, $60.

People always ask what I’m working on. This is it. The quest for a better headband for 2012-13, in trendy colors like espresso brown and metallics.

Organic cotton copper brown knit headband by Knits for Life
Copper Brown Knit Headband in Organic Cotton by Knits for Life
Knit headband metallic blue by knits for life
Sapphire Blue Knit Headband in Organic Cotton by Knits for Life
Sapphire Blue Knit Headband by Knits for Life
Sapphire Blue Knit Headband by Knits for Life

I love to post my works in progress and inspiration on Instagram, so follow me to see all my current projects (@knitsforlife).

Knit Infinity Cable Headband Turban in progress by Knits for Life
I finished off the Infinity Turban Headband on last week’s road trip along the California coast. Follow @KnitsForLife on Instagram where I post shots of my process.
Knit Knot Cowl in progress by Knits for Life
Follow @KnitsForLife on Instagram for shots of my process, like this study in knit climbing knots for upcoming cowl and headband designs.

Cast on an inspiring pattern like the ones below and play along!

KNITTING PATTERN Parisian Twist Headband Ear Warmer PDF
Parisian Twist Headband Ear Warmer Knitting Pattern by McLaughlin Designs, $5.
Knotted Headband Free Crochet Pattern
Knotted Headband Crochet Pattern by Stephanie Jessica Lau, free.
News

Can we make a living crocheting?


Lately I’ve been thinking about what direction I want to take Knits for Life. When I chose a graduate school, I learned that the hardest decisions to make are a choice between many good choices. Ever day I find a new direction I could take my fiber art adventures. Exhilarating! …Overwhelming. Definitely cause for research and introspection.

Enter twitterverse. I chanced upon a podcast between two crafty superstars that was as enjoyable as joining two friends for tea, Diane Gilleland of CraftyPod and Stacey Trock of FreshStitches. They break down what it takes to make a living crocheting right down to the dollar and the minute. I learned that I’m doing what it takes, but Stacy has spent much time researching how her market works and what it means to her business. Lucky for you and me, she shares what she’s learned in the podcast in clear, simple way.

Crochet and amigurumi expert, Stacey at FreshStitches.
Crochet and amigurumi expert, Stacey at FreshStitches.

So grab your favorite cuppa, pop in the headphones, and click the play button in the middle of the screen at this link: http://www.craftypod.com/2012/08/11/craftypod-2-0-making-a-sustainable-living-in-pattern-design-with-stacey-trock/

New Patterns, New Products

New Crochet Lace Laptop Bags


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I was seeing things.

My aunt walked in to my grandma’s house carrying her laptop in a home made crochet bag and I did a double take. We crocheters always do double takes at crochet and knitting, but this was because I thought I saw her carrying a sleeve with a handle.

Duh! Everyone makes laptop sleeves, but then you have to carry it like a book. When what you really want to do is carry it like a bag. Turns out it was all a vision. My aunt was carrying a laptop sleeve by its flap as if it were a handle. I was in good company getting an idea this way. Isaac Mizrahi stops cabs to follow people on the street. Or rather, to follow their clothing.

Introducing my latest design, a laptop sleeve with a handle and in a fashionable crochet lace pattern. Buy it in fun colors or buy the pattern to make your own at knitsforlife.etsy.com.

xoxo,

Lorna at Knits for Life

 

New Products, News

Yarn Bombed Furniture at STUDIO Gallery in SF


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I am pleased to show you two more yarn bombed chairs in yellow and brown to go with the white one I made a few weeks ago. Made from reclaimed IKEA furniture and covered in crocheted recycled yarn, they exude my eco-friendly hand made style. All three are on display at STUDIO Gallery in San Francisco until May 27th with the San Francisco Etsy Street Team gallery show.

Yours truly,

Lorna at Knits for Life